Why Nathan Ferguson will be a good fit at Crystal Palace
According to Daily Mail, Crystal Palace have confirmed the signing of highly-rated youngster Nathan Ferguson on a three-year deal.
The 19-year-old joined the Premier League side on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract with promotion-chasing West Brom. Back in January, Palace was in pole position to bring the versatile defender to Selhurst Park. However, the deal did not materialise after Ferguson failed his medicals.
A West Brom academy graduate from the age of eight, young Ferguson was finally handed his maiden senior appearance for the Championship side this season under boss Slaven Bilic.
Predominantly a centre-back, Ferguson was however deployed at full-back role by Bilic in his first-ever season for the Baggies. Despite his inexperience and young age, Ferguson quickly adjusted to the role and featured in 21 of their league games before suffering a knee injury.
After Ferguson’s failed switch to Palace earlier this year due to the injury, he underwent surgery in February. With his negotiations with West Brom over a fresh deal reaching a dead-end, Ferguson finally decided to move to Palace at the end of the season.
Though an £8million fee for Ferguson’s transfer has been initially agreed on by both the parties, the full amount is yet to be announced.
Ferguson a solution to the defensive woes at Crystal Palace
Roy Hodgson needs a young defender, with five out of his overall eight defenders already past their thirties.
The Eagles at present have veteran centre-backs Mamadou Sakho (30), James Tomkins (31), and Gary Cahill (34) in their side. Apart from these three, Palace just have 23-year-old Jairo Riedewald as a back-up. However, he is clearly not Hodgson’s favourite, having featured just 16 times in the league this season.
With a clearly ageing squad at their disposal, it is not a big surprise that Palace roped in a young talent like Ferguson. Palace also have issues at full-back, with 29-year-old Patrick van Aanholt being the side’s only active left-back. Right-backs Joel Ward and Martin Kelly have already passed their thirties.
That said, having a versatile defender like Ferguson will only benefit the side next season as he has already excelled in that role for West Brom. In fact, out of his 21 league appearances this season, the teenage defender played 12 times as a left-back and nine times on the right. Hence, by all means, Crystal Palace have made the right decision by signing a player like Ferguson.
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First of all, Ferguson’s arrival will add some young blood to an ageing defence such as the one at Crystal Palace. He is just 19 but has already proved his versatility at the back, with former side West Brom. Moreover, Ferguson can also offer Hodgson an extra option next season.